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California State University, Long Beach
Department of Sociology
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Welcome to the Sociology Department at CSULB

A Statement in Support of Victims of Gun Violence (10/3/17)

While today most of the nation is focused on the tragedy in Las Vegas, in Long Beach we are also painfully aware of the impact of gun violence in our own backyard. 

The Department of Sociology mourns the loss of Estephan Hernandez, a student who excelled in the classroom and whose personal story embodies what it means to be a CSULB student. 

While gun violence in the United States has been on a steady decline since the 1990’s, our homicide rate remains nearly three times that of other developed nations.  In Los Angeles County, there have been 633 homicides in the past 12 months. In Compton alone, there have been 24 homicides in the past 12 months.  While communities like this are often over-policed, violent crimes are frequently under investigated.

We would be remiss to ignore the impact of gun availability on violence in our communities.  At present, the U.S. boasts approximately 88.8 guns per 100 people, one of the highest rates of gun ownership per capita in the world.

Many in the CSULB family have been touched directly or indirectly by gun violence through the loss of friends, family or community members. In sociology, we talk about “making the familiar strange.”  In these times, it is important to take a step back and realize that this type of violence, though too often seen, should never become accepted and normalized. There are logical solutions and active steps that we can take to curtail gun violence in our communities ranging from joining with local community groups to reaching out to area political leaders. 

Out of our grief, we hope to create the change necessary to prevent this type of violence from happening again. 

We mourn the loss of a life taken far too soon.  Our condolences go out to his family and those who had the privilege of knowing Estephan.   

On campus resources are available for students, staff, and faculty who are coping with grief or loss.  Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is located in Brotman Hall – BH 226 and is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday and provides after hours counseling (562-985-4001).  CSULB faculty and staff can call to make an appointment with the University’s Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) counselor at (562) 985-7434.  

Sincerely,

Kris Zentgraf

Chair, Department of Sociology

California State University, Long Beach